Fabric Shopping in Rio

You may have noticed that things were very quiet here on the blog. A month ago, my stepfather passed away. His death was a huge, awful surprise. Even though he had many health issues, he had been doing really well for quite some time. So when I got my sister’s text on Tuesday, February 15, letting me know that my stepdad was gone, it was a shock. And at that moment, I knew that I had to go home to comfort and help my mom.

Image of the entrance of the Polo Textil in Rio de Janeiro
Take a Virtual Tour

My two weeks in Rio went by too fast–as they always do. There were tears, but there was laughter too. We shared stories about my stepdad, and we spent a lot of time together, just enjoying each other’s company. I even had a few hours to shop at Polo Textil, the Rio equivalent to LA’s Fashion District. This was a very special visit as my sisters came with me, and they even bought fabric to sew a skirt! 

The Haul


The weather in Rio is variations of hot and humid. Since going naked is frowned upon, a second best is anything made with rayon (viscose in Portuguese). The variety is dizzying, but for someone who does not wear colors, pickings are slim. Worst case scenario, I end up with another variation of B&W polka dots. This time, I was lucky to find a nice array of black fabrics and some fun prints.

Black Swiss Dot Rayon

This is a super drapey but rather thin rayon. This one will definitely need a lining. The dots are larger than traditional swiss dots. I want to use it to sew the Legend Sisters’ Willow Dress by the for a Boy Harsher concert in April.

Black Textured Rayon

It is hard to see the texture here—it almost looks like linen. It has a lot more body than the other rayons without losing the drape. I want to use this one to sew the Pippa Wrap Dress by Designer Stitch Studio.

B&W Zodiac Rayon

Image of B&W rayon with drawings of the Zodiac signs and their names written in Portuguese

I was unsure about this one as it has a lot of white. My sisters changed my mind. This print is very bold, so I want to use it with a pattern with simple, clean lines.

The Wilder by Friday Pattern Company might be a good choice, or I can sew both a Seamwork Georgia and a Seamwork Kenedy.

Leopard Print Rayon

This one is very out of my comfort zone, but I think that with the right pattern, it will look great. The vintage-y style of McCalls 7381 seems like a great pairing.


When cariocas (those born in the city of Rio de Janeiro) need to cool off, the beach is always a great idea. I don’t care for the beach for its tanning properties, but I like watching the ocean with a cold drink in my hand–and when it is not 100+ outside.

Image of the Maggie swimsuit by Seamwork

I had plans to sew one new swimsuit, the Maggie by Seamwork, but now it looks like I will have to sew two!

Bright-Colored Galaxy on Dark Blue Background Spandex

This print is so cute! The celestial bodies are colorful and bright, popping against the dark blue background. I am not much for color, but I could not resist how adorable this print was.

White Stars on Blue Background Spandex

This is a lot more my style—a simple, understated print. It seems I have a thing for astronomy (and astrology too!). I don’t go to the beach nearly as much to justify two swimsuits, so I need to plan more vacations by the ocean… or at least by the pool.

Ricardo Mendes de Faria, 1944-2022

Image of my stepfather looking into the distance
Ric, My Stepdad

The wonderful thing about sewing is that for each piece you sew, there is a context, a historical background, and the feelings and experiences you were living when you sewed that garment. These fabrics and the clothing they will eventually become will always be linked to this moment–the loss, but also the memories and the joy that my stepfather left behind.


  1. Anne
    March 17, 2022 / 6:51 am

    Oh, Paula, I am so sorry for your loss. I’m so glad that the world opened up enough for you to go home to be with your family at that horrible time. And I look forward to seeing all your new sewing projects!

    • SewGoth
      March 17, 2022 / 6:26 pm

      Thank you so much! It was a shock losing him so suddenly. It was nice being able to be with my family. Hope you are doing well.

  2. March 17, 2022 / 7:18 pm

    I am so sorry about your stepdad.

    You look like Yennefer from The Witcher with that green eyeshadow!

    Rayon and viscose are the same fabric? I had no idea!

    Ooh, love that dress Willow pattern!

    • SewGoth
      March 21, 2022 / 6:35 pm

      Thank you.

      I have never watched The Witcher, so I had to look up Yennefer. I don’t wear much green, but I have a thing for green eyeshadow. And I had the same reaction when I learned about rayon and viscose. I am really looking forward to sewing the Willow.

  3. Mardie
    March 18, 2022 / 12:57 pm

    I am so sorry for the loss of your stepfather ♥ The B&W ZODIAC RAYON looks really col though, I am curious to see what you make of it.

    • SewGoth
      March 21, 2022 / 6:36 pm

      Thank you.

      I am still trying to figure out how to work with it. It will be a dress for sure 🙂 Just need to find the right dress.

  4. Lodi
    March 23, 2022 / 3:27 pm

    Paula, I am so sorry that you lost your step-dad. I lost my step-mother during the pandemic and we were finally able to have a memorial service this last spring. So I’m glad that you were able to be with your family in “real time”.
    Your fabric shopping tour made me want to visit Rio even if I’m not carioca! But, yes, I do enjoy sitting on the beach (under some shade) with a cold drink in my hand! (A fading memory I’d like to revisit at this point in history 😱 .) Jealous of that…
    I’m looking forward to seeing what you make with your treasures!

    • SewGoth
      March 29, 2022 / 6:39 pm

      Thank you. It was really great being able to be with my family—especially my mom. It was so hot in February that I was not able to hang out at the beach. I am going back in July, and this is the perfect time for hitting the beach. I am using the spandex to make a couple of pairs of two-piece swimsuits. You should definitely plan another trip 🙂

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